Monday, March 28, 2011

Review: The Killing Dance, Laurell K. Hamilton

Publisher: Headline UK
Format: Paperback
Pages: 464
Released: First released in 1997, this version in 2010
This is not a YA - title

These days my life is a cross between a preternatural soap opera and an action-adventure movie.' The first hit man came after me at home, which should be against the rules. Then there was a second, and a third. Word on the street is that Anita Blake, preternatural expert and vampire killer extraordinaire, is worth half a million dollars. Dead, not alive. So what's a girl to do but turn to the men in her life for help? Which in my case means an alpha werewolf and a master vampire. With professional killers on your trail, it's not a bad idea to have as much protection as possible, human or otherwise. But I'm beginning to wonder if two monsters are better than one...

Dark & entertaining

The Killing Dance was another entertaining book about Anita Blake, but not my favorite in this series.

There is a prize on Anita Blake's head, but she does not know who or why. Richard and Jean-Claude must try to help keep her safe, and soon Anita is caught in a whirlvind of emotions.

I have read this book on and off for some time now. The book is entertaining, but I didn't find it very suspenseful. There is a lot of focus on the relationships Anita has with the two men in her life, and there is some surprising additions to this. We get to know the characters better, and they evolve.

I have read that this series just keeps getting more and more erotic as the story progresses, and that is obvious in this book. There is more action here than in the previous books. But Hamilton still manages to create an orginial world with interesting perspectives on the paranormal.

Another thing I like about this series is the dark humour, and the character Anita Blake. So even though this book was not the best read in this series, it was still entertaining and I will keep on reading.

Other reviews:
Supernatural Bookworm
Books I Loved
Nyx Book Reviews

Friday, March 25, 2011

Follow friday & Book Blogger Hop

This is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee.Find more about it here.

This week's question: Give us five book-related silly facts about you.

I have a book with me at most times when I am not at the house. I feel naked whitout one. Sometimes I carry around more than one book, because I cannot choose which one to take with me.

2. I am not a loyal reader; I choose books to read impulsively. One day I am in the mood for some horror, the next I want to read Anita Blake. That's why my reading list here on the blog keeps changing. I do try to read the books I receive for review though, so normally I read like 3 or 4 books at a time.

3. I have a hard time giving or throwing books away, I am a book hoarder. When someone in my family dies, I am usually the one that inherites all the books because I can't stand the fact that they otherwise would be thrown away.

4. I cannot sleep if I do not read after going to bed. I normally read with a strong flashlight, so I don't disturb my boyfriend.

5. When I go on vacation, I have a hard time choosing the books that are to come with me. Most times I end up taking 6 or 7 books, even though I am not going to be away that long. My kindle has been a real savior when it comes to the weight of my suitcase.

The hop is hosted by Crazy for Books.
Book Blogger Hop

This week's questions:

If you could physically put yourself into a book or series…which one would it be and why?"

I would put myself into RubyRed by Kerstin Gier, would be nice to be abel to travel back in time whenever I pleased.

And I would love to be a part of a wizard-family and attend Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series.

Happy weekend everybody. Remember, you can follow my blog via e-mail also. More information here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Interview with Jeannette Walls, author of the Glass Castle

Today I would like to welcome Jeannette Walls to my blog.

Walls was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1960. She moved to New York when she was 17 years old, and lived here for a while. Walls worked as a journalist in New York City in over 20 years and had her own column at MSNBC:Com. Today Walls lives in Virginia with her husband.

Walls made her debut as an author in 2000 with the book Dish: The Inside Story on the World of Gossip. Her real breakthrough as an author came with the memoir The Glass Castle, first published in 2005. Walls also wrote Half Broke Horses, which came out in 2009.

The Glass Castle
have been translated into a lot of languages, including Norwegian, and this was the reason I recently interviewed Walls.

Here is the interview where Walls talks about her book and how her family have reacted to it, among other things:

Your novel The Glass Castle has just been released in Norway. Can you tell us a little bit about this book?

It’s about growing up with two brilliant, unconventional, complicated parents and trying to make sense of the chaotic world they created. It’s about sorting through that chaos and finding the beautiful gifts they gave me.

The book is a memoir from your childhood. Why did you decide to write this book?

One evening, I saw my homeless mother on the street digging through garbage. I asked her several days later what the heck I was supposed to tell people about her, and she gave me the best advice anyone has ever given me: “Just tell the truth.”

What was the most challenging thing you encountered whilst working on this book?
Rising to Mom’s challenge to just tell the truth. The truth, as anyone who’s compared notes of their childhood with a sibling knows, is a tricky critter and it takes on many shapes. So much of it depends on your perspective and how you choose to see things.

What are you most proud of when it comes to this book?

The Glass Castle is being read in a number of schools – both high schools and colleges. I get lovely letters from well-to-do students telling me that the book has made them see poverty differently. And I get heart-wrenching letters from kids from the wrong side of the tracks saying that after having read my story, they realize that if I made it, they can too. Nothing could make me happier.

How have your siblings and the rest of your family reacted to this book, and what do your siblings do today?

My family has been great. I think the book has actually brought us all closer.

My brother, Brian, was with me from day one. I showed him the manuscript while I was working on it and he gave me feedback. Brian has a steel-trap memory and would have called me on something if I got it wrong. He’s retired from the police force and now works with Habitat for Humanity, building houses for folks who can’t afford to buy one.

Lori was a little ambivalent about the idea of my telling our story. She would never have asked me not to write it, but she couldn’t understand why the heck I would want to revisit some of the darker corners of our past. She is still an artist and still living in Manhattan and has been quite wonderful about the book.

I didn’t discuss the book with my younger sister Maureen because we’d lost touch, but one of the many blessings that’s come about as a result of telling my story and that Maureen and I have reconnected. She has been absolutely lovely about The Glass Castle.

Mom has been pretty darned fabulous, too. I offered to show her the book while I was working on it, but she wasn’t interested. She read it after publication, and was a little upset with my description of her driving, but other than that, she’s been incredibly wise and philosophical, which is to her great credit, because the portrait of her isn’t entirely flattering. She said, “I don’t see everything the way that you do, but I understand why you saw it that way, and you had to tell the truth as you saw it.” Mom, by the way, is no longer homeless; she lives with me in rural Virginia and we’re closer now than we’ve ever been. She’s a hoot and continues to astonish me with her perspective on things, and still paints like a fiend.

I was really moved by some of the scenes in this book, especially the scene where you “get” Venus for Christmas. What was the most important lesson your parents taught you?

Dad taught me to dream and Mom taught me optimism. If you get those gifts from you’re parents, you’re extraordinarily lucky.

Why should the readers in Norway pick up your book and read it?

People have incredibly different reactions to my story. Some readers think I was neglected or even abused, some have actually told me that they were a little jealous of my childhood. Once a man told me that he found the book so upsetting that he could barely finish it, but his wife said she thought it was hilarious and laughed throughout. Many book clubs have told me that my story caused the most heated debate their club has ever had. I’ve stopped trying to guess what people’s reactions.

Do you feel relieved, now that you have told your story to the world? Or, in other words: how has your reaction to having this book published been?

A very wise man once told me that secrets are like vampires: they suck the life out of you, but they can exist only in the darkness. Once they’re exposed to the light, there’s a moment of horror when you see them, but then – poof – they loose their power. I have found that to be very true.

The Glass Castle has stayed on the NYT bestseller list for years, and the rights have been sold to a lot of countries. Why do your think the book have become so popular?

I have no idea. I’m still pinching myself.

Despite the serious topics dealt with in this book, you never point a finger at anybody and the book is not depressing. How did you achieve that?

I love my parents and I believe that they loved me. I’m extraordinarily happy with the way things have turned out for me, and if you are where you want to be, why regret how you got there?

Who are your favorite authors, and which book have made the greatest impression on you?

When I was ten years old, I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I was pretty much an outcast at the time, and the character of little Francie Nolan became my closest friend. She wasn’t very cute or popular, either, and she also loved to read and write. And Francie Nolan she could adore her no-count, charming, alcoholic, day-dreaming dad, then so could I.

Are there any plans to make this book into a movie?

It has been optioned for a movie and a script has been written. But with Hollywood, you never know what’s going to happen until you see the credits rolling.

Have you found your Glass Castle yet?

Oh yes. Many times over.

Is there anything you would like to add/say to the readers?

We all have a story, and I’m grateful to anyone who chooses to share mine.

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview, Jeannette Walls.

The Glass Castle have received a lot of praise and prizes, including the Christopher Award,
the American Library Association's Alex Award and the Books for Better Living Award.

The book is a fascinating, warm and brave retelling of a special childhood. If you have not read this book, I would strongly suggest that you do so. It had me glued to the pages.

Review: The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls

Publisher: Pantagruel (Norwegian Publisher)
Pages: 375
Format: Hardback
Release: March 2011

'Walls doesn't pull her punches. Walls's parents - just two of the unforgettable characters in this excellent, unusual book - were a matched pair of eccentrics. And raising four children didn't conventionalise either of them. [Walls has] a fantastic storytelling knack.' Publishers Weekly 'Just read the first pages of THE GLASS CASTLE by Jeannette Walls, and I defy you not to go on. It's funny, and sad, and quirky, and loving. I was incredibly touched by it.' -Dominick Dunne, author of The Way We Lived Then : Recollections of a Well-Known Name Dropper and Justice: Crimes, Trials, and Punishments * 'Like JD Salinger or Hemingway before her, Jeannette Walls has the talent of knowing exactly how to let a story tell itself, crafted without self-pity or analysis or judgement' Independent on Sunday * 'A terrific story, grippingly told' Sunday Times * 'Funny and brilliantly written' Evening Herald * 'There isn't a shred of self-pity in this deeply compassionate book' Marie Claire

Fascinating and warm

Jeannette Walls has written an incredible memoir, so fantastic in it's descriptions you have a hard time believing that this has actually happened. There is nothing ordinary about her childhood.

Walls' parents had a somewhat eccentric perpective on life in general. They lived for art and their own fantasyprojects. Their kids just had to tag along. They moved frequently, and lived in poor living conditions. Sometimes they didn't have money for food. But they had a strong bond in the family, even when Walls' father used up all the money on alcohol.

A meeting with her mother in New York, sparked Walls to write this memoir. For many years she had repressed her childhood memories, and not dared telling anyone about what she experienced. Her life had gone a long way since she was a child and she was ashamed of her background.

Some people may point to neglect and childabuse whilst reading Walls' memoir, but she does not point a finger at anybody in her book. On the contrary she describes her so childhood warmly and enthusiastically which makes the readers feel like they are reading a fantastic fictionnovel.

The book has a lot of lessons, and I especially liked the scene where Jeannette "gets" the planet Venus for Christmas.

This is a fascinating book that will make you keep on reading to find out what happens next. Your own childhood will seem dull in comparison, despite the seriousness surronding the situations described in this book. It is hard not to be engaged in the story, and I think Walls' have done a great job writing about her childhood in a way that makes the reader forget the seriousness in it.

This is an easy and fascinating read, and I liked the book very much.

Other reviews:
It's All About Books
Addicted to Books
Vishy's Blog

The Glass Castle on Goodreads

Trailer Tuesday

My pick this week is Shimmer by Alyson Noel. I have not started the Riley - series yet, but I think this trailer is so cute:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In My Mailbox 9, 10 & 11

This is a weekly meme hosted by the Story Siren, where we talk about books we have gotten lately.

I had decided to not buy so many books this year, but one weekend I went on a total bookbuying spree on the internet. And the result is shown under. Now, I seriously need to go of the bookbuying-wagon. If anyone has any advice to how not buy so many books, please let me know. I am all ears.

Anyway, here is the results of my shopping spree:

Melissa Marr: Darkest Mercy (For Review)
I have not read the other books in this series, so I need to do that soon.
Veronica Roth: Divergent (For review)
I was so excited to get this book, and it sounds so good. I love dystopian literature. And the cover is awesome.
Laurie Halse Anderson: Chains & Forge (Bought)
I love reading historical fiction and these sounded good.
Laurie Halse Anderson: Fever 1793 (Bought)
Again a historical fiction, I have read some great reviews of this one..
Richelle Mead: Spirit Bound, Blood Promise & Last Sacrifice (Bought)
Have just started this series, and needed to have the books I missed in order to contiue reading it.
Lionel Shriver: We need to talk about Kevin (Bought)
Another blogger recommend I read this one, since I liked Room by Emma Donoghue.
F.G Gottam: The Magdalena Curse (Bought)
A horror story. Need I say more?
Emma Donogue: Slammerkin (Bought)
Loved Room, and this is a histocial fiction. I also bought The Sealed Letter by the same author, but have not gotten it yet.
Pittacus Lore: I am number four (For review)
Going do read this as part of a Norwegian blog tour.

I also bought some books that are not in this picture:

Stacia Kade: The Ghost and the Goth
Lisa Tawn Bergren: Waterfall

I have also read some great books lately to be reviewed on this blog soon: Chevy Stevens: Still Missing, Richelle Mead. The Vampire Academy and Jeannette Walls: The Glass Castle, to name a few.

What did you get in your mailbox?

Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Publisher: Gyldendal (Norwegian Publisher)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 456
Release: 2009

In a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives. Collins's characters are completely realistic and sympathetic as they form alliances and friendships in the face of overwhelming odds; the plot is tense, dramatic, and engrossing. This book will definitely resonate with the generation raised on reality shows like 'Survivor' and 'American Gladiator.

Simply spellbinding

The Hunger Games was a fantastic and intense reading experience. I could not put this book down. It consumed me.

Katniss, or Catnip as her best friend Storm prefers to call her, lives in Stollen - a part of District 12. We are in the future, and North America is made up of districts with Capitol holding the power. As punishment for earlier rebellions, there is the annual Hunger Games. Each district must send a girl and a boy to compete in the games. There is only one winner; the person who survies until the bitter end. The competitors are chosen via a lottery. The Hunger Games is shown on TV in every district.

When Katniss' sister is chosen, Katniss volunteers to take her place. Together with Peeta, son of the local baker, she must travel to Capitol to fight for her life. But how do you fight for your life and still obtain your dignity? The competition is unfair. The tributes from the rich districts have been preparing for their participaton in the Hunger Games all their lives. But Peeta and the team behind him and Katniss have a plan...

The idea for this book is not original, but is much similar to Battle Royale, which came out as a novel in 1999 and became a movie in 2000. In Battle Royale a class of 42 students are kidnapped and thrown into a deathgame where there can only be one winner. In the Hunger Games, the number of participants is 24, and also here the state have the power and there can only be one winner. Both the endings are also a bit a like. Some might say that the Hunger Games also resembles The Lord of the Flies.

Suzanne Collins have created an exciting world I did not want to leave. I was hooked from the first page, and even had to sneak off to the toilet during a concert to find out what would happen next. The book kept me awake at night, and I was eager to reach the end and find out what would happen to Katniss and Peeta.

Katniss is a great female heroine. She is not one-dimensional and clearly the author wants the reader to like her. When Katniss kills one of her opponents, it is shown as a last resort and I as a reader can understand why she had to do that. She is not, as opposed to other participants in the Hunger Games, a sadistic and violent person. She tries hard to remain sivilized.

There is also a love triangle here, and we are never quite sure who feels what and why.

The Hunger Games kept me at the edge of my seat. I loved this book, and have already started the next installment. If you have not read this book, do so today!

Other reviews:
Presenting Lenore
The Literary Wife
Escape in a Book

Friday, March 11, 2011

Contest winner

I have found a winner of Withering Tights using The winner is Christina @ The Paperback Princesses.

I will send you the book in the mail, and I am looking forward to reading your review of it.

Have a great weekend everybody.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Review: Room, Emma Donoghue

Publisher: Gyldendal (Norwegian publisher)
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Release: Released in 2010, but first released in Norway in 2011. I read this in Norwegian
(This is not a YA-title)

Jack is five. He lives with his Ma. They live in a single, locked room. They don't have the key. Jack and Ma are prisoners.

Gripping and beautifully crafted

I have not read anything like Room before. I was instantly sucked into the book, it crawled under my skin and hit me both in the heart and the head. This is not a book you easily forget.

Imagine that you have spent all your life in a little room, that all you know of the world is a table, a rocking chair, a lamp, at tiny bathroom, a flower, a stowe, a big bed that you share with your mummy, a television set and a blanket with marks from the day that you were born. This is Jack's world.

Jack's mom is kidnapped of the street when she is 19 years old, and the kidnapper locks her in a little room. He visits and abuses her regularly. Two years after the kidnapping, Jack is born. Jack and his mom are totally dependent on their captor; he brings them food and supplies. Jack calls him Old-Nick, and when Old-Nick comes to visit, Jack must spend the night in the closet.

Jack knows nothing about the world beyond Room. When his mother tells him about "Beyond", he has a hard time understanding that there exists something outside of Room. But Jack's mum has not forgotten the world outside, and she dreams of running away from captivity.

The whole story in Room is told through Jack's point of view and we understand that his mum is very thin, that she sometimes breaks down and sleeps for days. Jack describes how their captor cut the power to Room, and how they nearly freeze and starve to death as a result. Jack's narrative makes the story even more gripping and heartbreaking, and makes it sound real. It is a big achievement writing a story that the reader actually believes is told by an actual five year old.

Room was inspired by the Joseph-Fritz - case, but despite the gruesome premises, this is also a beautiful book. The love and the bond between mother and son are so well described. The book shows that it is possible to survive horrendous ordeals if you only have love. Love makes you able to live through everything. This is a heartbreaking book, but it also has humour and warmth. It is dark, but at the same time filled with light and hope. It plays on all your emotions. I do not think it is possible to read this book and not be moved by it.

This is one of the books that has made the greatest impression on me throughout my entire life, and one of the best books I have ever read. Simply amazing. You have to read this book.

Other reviews:
Booklover Book Reviews
Medieval Bookworm
Shelf life

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Withering Tights by Louise Rennison & Contest

Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Format: Paperback
Pages: 352
Release: February 2011
Review Copy received from publisher

Winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2010! The misadventures of Tallulah Casey… Hilarious new series from Queen of Teen – laugh your tights off at the (VERY) amateur dramatic antics of Talullah and her bonkers mates. Boys, snogging and bad acting guaranteed! Picture the scene: Dother Hall performing arts college somewhere Up North, surrounded by rolling dales, bearded cheesemaking villagers (male and female) and wildlife of the squirrely-type. On the whole, it’s not quite the showbiz experience Tallulah was expecting… but once her mates turn up and they start their ‘FAME! I’m gonna liiiiive foreeeeeever, I’m gonna fill my tiiiiights’ summer course things are bound to perk up. Especially when the boys arrive. (When DO the boys arrive?) Six weeks of parent-free freedom. BOY freedom. Freedom of expression… cos it’s the THEATRE dahling, theatre!!

You have perhaps noticed that it doesn't say "review" on the title of this page. This book showed up in my mail from the publisher, and the title appealed to me; Wuthering Heights is one of my favorite books. I have read almost all of Withering Tights, but the problem is I don't get the book, and that is not the book or the author's fault.

I read very little comedy books, it's not that I am not a funny person but it is not my cup of tea. And that became obvious once I started reading; I did not get a lot of the jokes - and I think that is due part to my maternal language and/or place of living. It would not be fair to the book and the author if I reviewed it on that basis.

But, the book deserves a well written review - I have read some reviews for it already and it seems like people are loving it. I have decided to give my copy away so another person, who understands the jokes better than me, can enjoy it and review it.

Here is what you have to do to win:
1. You must have a blog with regular posts for the last 6 months
2. If you join the contest, you are also stating that you will read and review the book during March/Early April 2011 (I will draw the winner and ship out the book Friday this week)
3. You must be a follower to enter
4. You must like to read comedy

The winner will be chosen using The contest will be closed Thursday 10th of March at 24.00 CET. Everyone can join - this is an international contest.

Please make sure to put the name of your blog after your name/nick in the spreadsheet, thank you.

(The last "question" in the spreadsheet says I understand that by joining this contest, I will read and review this book on my blog within two weeks after getting the book in my mailbox. )

Friday, March 4, 2011

Follow friday & Book Blogger Hop

This is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee. You can read more about it here.

Book Blogger Hop

The Hop is hosted by Crazy for Books, and information about this meme is found here.

This week's question:

"Who's your all-time favorite book villain?"

That was a terribly hard question to answer. I think I will have to go for Roman, from The Immortals series. He is an interesting character, and even though I do not like some of the things he does, I am still fascinated by him. And I love his british way of speaking.

Have a great friday everyone. PS, be sure to check out this blog tour.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Review: The Vampire Diaries, book 3 & 4

Publisher: Hodder Childrens UK
Pages: 410
Format: Paperback
Release: First released in 1991, this edition in 2009

The Fury: Faced with an ancient evil, Stefan and Damon must stop their feuding and join forces with Elena to confront it. But in so doing, they are unwittingly sealing her fate . The Reunion: Elena summons the vampire trio once more to unite and challenge their fate. Together they will be called to face the most terrifying evil Fell's Church has ever known.

An easy vampire read

Book 3 and 4 in the Vampire Diaries are way better than the first two books.

The story revolves around evil - an evil is threatening Fell's Church, Elena and all her friends. Together they must try to fight it with all means and do their best to adapt to the circumstances brought on late in book 2.

I was not a big fan of the first two books in this series, but I am glad I kept on reading because this was much, much better. Here your have a lot of suspense, mystery and surprises. I did predict some of the twists in the story, men not everyone of them.

I felt like I got to know Stefan and Damon better, and the relationship between the two brothers is the most interesting part of these book, in my opinion. Elena remains a somewhat vague character - my sympathy is with Bonnie. I find her much more interesting to read about.

Book 3 is the one I liked the best. Here you have situations which reminded me of Cujo by Stephen King. Book 4 is not so good, and it lacks in originality and suspense. Both books are easy reads perfect for days when you just want to relax. The problem with this series is that the books are so uneven, especially when it comes to the development of the main character. I do think that the younger audience will like these books better than me.

Other reviews:
An Addicted Book Reader
My Books My Life

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

WOW: Passion

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the spine. This is were we talk about the books we are most anticipating.

My pick this week is Passion by Lauren Kate:
Before Luce and Daniel met at Sword & Cross and fought immortals at Shoreline, they lived many lives. . . .

I love Lauren Kate's books, and I can't wait to read more about Luce and Daniel. There have been rumours that this book will serve as a prequel to the series. I am superexcited.
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